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 Rudolph F. Ingerle  (1879 - 1950)

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Lived/Active: Illinois/Tennessee      Known for: regionalist landscape and figure, mural

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Ad Code: 3
Rudolph F. Ingerle
An example of work by Rudolph F. Ingerle
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Growing up in Vienna, Austria, Rudolph Ingerle was fascinated by persons he perceived as quaint in the nearby mountains of Moravia. He became committed to painting subjects, primarily landscapes and people in those landscapes, that related to his surroundings. He transferred that interest to regions of his adopted country of America where he had a career based in Chicago.

Ingerle studied at the Art Institute and then traveled extensively in search of landscapes that appealed to him. Locations included Brown County, Indiana; the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. His figural subjects appeared generally untroubled by concerns beyond their own boundaries.

HIs style was traditional realism, and he was very popular in Chicago with persons who resisted the encroaching modernist styles. He exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago as well as the Carnegie Institute, Pennsylvania Academy Corcoran Gallery and the Mint and Hickory museums.

Sources include:
Elizabeth Kennedy, "Chicago Modern 1893-1945", p. 123
Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"

Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:
RUDOLPH F. INGERLE (1879-1950)

Born in Vienna, Austria, Rudolph Ingerle came to the United States with his parents when he was twelve years old, eventually settling in Chicago. There, the young artist attended Schmidt's Art Academy and later the Art Institute.  He studied and sketched the paintings in the Institute's museum collection and later advocated such careful observation of works of art as the best approach to becoming a great artist.

Though Ingerle dearly loved his native land, he strongly believed that any artist-immigrant to the United States should paint only American subjects. While primarily based in Chicago, he allied himself with T. C. Steele and others in forming the Indiana School of painting in Brown County, and then joined the Ozark School which developed shortly thereafter.

Around 1920, Ingerle decided that he would like to see the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. He found the area so inspiring that after his initial visit, he returned for several months each year for the rest of his life.

Working from Bryson City on the Tuckaseegee River, Ingerle created landscapes of the area as well as penetrating character studies of the mountain people, earning the appellation, "Painter of the Smokies." Ingerle responded with awe and reverence to the Great Smoky Mountains, and his paintings are a legacy to a way of life which has all but vanished, and to a landscape which remains as beautiful as it was when the artist first saw it.

This essay is copyrighted by the Charleston Renaissance Gallery and may not be reproduced or transmitted without written permission from Hicklin Galleries, LLC.

Biography from The Johnson Collection:
Rudolph Ingerle was born in Vienna, Austria on April 14, 1879. His family came from Moravia, a mountainous region in what is now Czechoslovakia. The Moravian people have a very rich culture, with colorful native dress and a traditional way of life. As a child, Ingerle enjoyed visiting his grandparents in their small mountain village and he developed a love for rural life that was later expressed in many of his paintings.

Ingerle and his family immigrated to the United States when he was twelve years old. The family initially settled in Wisconsin, but soon relocated to the urban center of Chicago. There, Ingerle had the opportunity to attend art classes at the Schmidt Art Academy and later at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he often sketched from the Institute’s museum collection. Though Ingerle had a strong sense of Moravian pride, he felt that as a new American he should focus on subjects from his newly adopted country. In the early 1900s he joined with Indiana artist T.C. Steele and others to form the Indiana School of Painting in Brown County. However, he soon left the Indiana School to help found the Society of Ozark Painters.

Ingerle made his first trip to the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina around 1920 and immediately fell in love with the region. Perhaps his childhood memories of mountain life led him to return to the area for a few months every year to paint what he called, “the grandest people in the world; the finest Americans in the country.” The rural, isolated, hard-working lifestyle of the mountain people appealed to Ingerle’s conservative values, both artistically and politically, and his art quickly became very popular among the people of Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee.

At the turn of the century, a railroad was built running through the Great Smoky Mountains and logging became a major industry. Lumber companies threatened the natural beauty of the remote forest land between Asheville, North Carolina and Knoxville, Tennessee with their clear-cutting techniques. In the 1920s and early 1930s, travel writers, nature photographers, artists and motorists campaigned together with local citizens to protect the scenic area. Due in part to the efforts of Ingerle and other artists interested in protecting the untamed and beautiful views of the region, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was officially established in 1934 and its environment is now protected indefinitely for all Americans to enjoy.

Throughout his career, Ingerle painted many inspiring images of the mountains and mountain life and became known as the “Painter of the Smokies.” He was given several one-man shows at prominent museums in the region, such as the Mint Museum in Charlotte and the Hickory Museum of Art in Western North Carolina. When not painting in the mountains, Ingerle maintained a studio in Chicago from which he exhibited work in many major museums and galleries throughout the Midwest. He was also very active in the artistic organizations of that city and served as the president of the Chicago Society of Artists for two years.

The Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina

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